High Mallow
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High Mallow
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: High Mallow, Common mallow, Tall mallow • Hindi: Gurchanti, Socholi • Kannada: Sanna bindige gida, Seeme bende • Marathi: Kubaajee • Urdu: Khubbazi, Tukhm-e-khubbazi, Gul-e-khubazi, गुले ख़ैर Gul-e-khair
Botanical name: Malva sylvestris    Family: Malvaceae (Mallow family)

High Mallow is a spreading perennial herb, about 3 ft tall. In wild it can grow taller. Stems are straight or prostrate, branched and covered with fine soft hairs or none at all. The leaves are alternately arranged, deep green, soft, and downy. They are roundish, and have 3-7 shallow lobes, each 2-5 cm across. Leaf stalk is either 2-6 cm or 2-13 cm long. The flowers are large, numerous, and of purple color. They appear in clusters of 2-4 in leaf axils. Sepals are five, petals five, pollen large, whitish. Petals are wrinkly to veined on the backs, more than 1.5-2.3 cm long and 1 cm wide, eggshaped, margin notched with a fringe of hairlike projections. Seeds or 'cheeses' are brown to brownish green when ripe, about 2.5 mm wide, 5-7 mm in diameter and are shaped like a cheese wheel which inspired on of its common names. High Mallow is widespread in Africa, Europe and Asia. Within India it is found in the Himalayas, from Kashmir to Kumaon up to an altitude of 2400 m.
Medicinal uses: High Mallow possesses the properties common to mucilaginous herbs, and an infusion thereof forms an excellent demulcent in coughs, irritations of the air-passages, flux, affections of the kidney and bladder, etc. In inflammatory conditions of the external parts, the bruised herb forms an excellent application, making, as it does, a natural emollient cataplasm.

Identification credit: Gurcharan Singh Photographed in Shillong, Meghalaya & Mandi, Himachal Pradesh.

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